Aug 28th, 2015 by Elizabeth
This is pepper season! Peppers taste best in my opinion when they’re stuffed with cheese, but they’re also pretty good stuffed with rice or vegan sausage.
(1) Chiles Rellenos
I’ve had chiles rellenos in restaurants before and I wasn’t impressed. But making this at home was life changing. The anaheim peppers are stuffed with cheddar cheese and coated with flour and egg. The peppers are fried and topped with a spicy tomato sauce. That link is to my own modified recipe. The stakes are high when it comes to peppers so I make a recipe that I know Jon will enjoy.
(2) Stuffed Poblano Peppers
This is modified from a Blue Apron recipe. Blue Apron sounds nice in theory, but I think they’re getting customers by having one fancy ingredient in each recipe. In this case one of the ingredients was pepitas, but it turns out that’s just a fancy word for pumpkin seeds. The most interesting thing about this recipe was discovering that garden poblanos are MUCH spicier than ones you buy in the grocery store. I had to add sour cream to the dish just to eat it.
(3) Sausage Stuffed Banana Peppers
I was surprised at how good this recipe was. The sausage and cheese make a delicious filling. It’s a really easy recipe too because you just fry the peppers and put marinara sauce on top. I also used Hungarian wax peppers for Jon’s plate since banana peppers barely have a flavor.
(4) Bell Pepper Pizza
I know pizza is a bit of an unoriginal option, but I haven’t listed it for the other garden vegetables, even though zucchini and goat cheese pizza is quite nice. I get the dough from Trader Joe’s and toss whatever vegetables are in excess that week. This was a Greek pizza made with olives, red onions, green bell peppers, and feta cheese.
(5) Sweet Potato Curry
We have so many cayenne peppers right now, I think I’m going to have to dry them. The weather is just too hot to make this curry. But when the weather turns cool we can have this every week because it is delicious. I used it last year with Thai chili peppers, but I think cayenne peppers will work just as well.
As a side note, I learned that it’s a bad idea to pan fry cayenne peppers. The air was so thick with spice that both Ava and I were coughing until I cleared out the room.
Aug 23rd, 2015 by Elizabeth
Ava’s personality is really developing. She has a new obsession with shoes. It started a few weeks ago when she insisted on wearing red velvet shoes that I had bought her for Christmas. They barely fit, but they looked so cute!
Ava also enjoys going through her diaper bag. She’s so nosy!
I bought Ava more shoes that fit her properly. When she puts on these jellies, she often does a little dance.
It’s actually good timing that Ava wants to wear shoes because she also wants to walk with assistance to the park in the evenings. We live in this fantastic neighborhood with a park a couple blocks away. It’s really close until you help a baby walk to it. Then it takes about 15 minutes to reach. I’m so proud of her determination and I love the feeling of her little hands grasping mine.
Ava is obsessed with this park. We often go there right after dinner. About 70% of the time when we leave Ava will cry hysterically. Now, her nanny usually takes her there during the week, so Ava’s not as deprived as she would have you believe. The crying is more about Ava’s state, though. Her bedtime has been somewhat fluid lately and one indicator that she’s ready for bed is that she gets irrationally upset over something.
Other aspects of Ava’s personality are that she now understands the mechanism of the light switch and she makes this cute shocked face every time you flip the light switch. Also, she’s realized that she can get you to giver her something if she points at it and makes this little “ah-ah?” noise. It doesn’t work for her 100% of the time, though, because tonight she requested that we pick up 20 different items in IKEA, which we did not oblige.
“Ah-ah? [Can you please bring me some metal to put in this outlet?]”
Aug 20th, 2015 by Elizabeth
I am loving this job, but boy are they giving me a ton of work! I’ve been working more at night, which means fewer blog posts. Fortunately it hasn’t affected our weekend Ava time.
Since Ava knows more words for animals than anything else (bird, duck, Teddy, kitty, moo, sss for snake, doo for cockadoodle doo), we took her to Wheeler Farm to see the animals in person. It was like taking a tween to a Taylor Swift concert. Ava shrieked with delight when she saw all the animals. In this picture, she’s realized that cows are actual things in the world.
Ava really liked the goats. Jon wouldn’t let her get too close, though, since a goat bit his arm the last time we were at Wheeler Farm.
Ava had a standoff with a rooster. Not really. This rooster kept crowing and Ava was fascinated. You could inspire him to crow by making the rooster noises back at him.
Aug 11th, 2015 by Elizabeth
This girl! She deserves a true update. There have been so many changes in this past month.
- Ava can go down a straight slide by herself. Yesterday she slid down the slide by herself six times. One of the times she finished sliding, she took three steps on her own. I will admit, I was a little sad that she didn’t need my help anymore.
- Ava can stand on her own for up to 20 seconds. Last weekend she used it as a new wrestling technique. She would stand in front of one of us and jump on us while growling. She’s so tough.
- One big change is that Ava wants to eat all her food herself. I bought these great baby bowls at IKEA that are grippy on the bottom so it’s harder for Ava to move them around on her high chair. She does great with spoons and she’s still working on mastering forks.
- I expect that Ava will be mechanically inclined given her interest in how things work. Today she mastered hammering.
Foods and Liquids
- I’ve been giving Ava a portion of our food and then I supplement with things I know she’ll like, such as fruit and carbs. Ava is a huge fan of goldfish crackers.
- Ava loves peanut butter. We discovered this because she would take apart peanut butter crackers to lick off the peanut butter. For dinner last night she had three tablespoons of peanut butter. Yum!
- Ava started taking a lot longer to go down at night. One night she took almost two hours. It used to be only 15 minutes. Now Ava drinks half the bottle, plays for awhile, finishes the bottle, and falls asleep.
- Once she’s sleeping it’s basically the same. Sometimes she rolls back and forth between us, sometimes she cuddles with one of us. About 80% of the time, she sleeps until 7:00 or 7:30.
- Ava chatters a lot. She’s good at repeating noises, and she’s especially good at mimicking songs. She’s best at learning things related to Teddy. Ava says Teddy, go, and today she started instructing Teddy to sit.
Aug 9th, 2015 by Elizabeth
In addition to kale, we have a ton of zucchini from a single plant in our garden and squash from the CSA. Zucchini has been heavily featured in dinners for the past month. I have a top five list of favorite zucchini dishes too. And! I took a couple of pictures. I actually had to put a reminder in my phone because once I finish making a meal I’m so excited to serve it that I forget to take a picture.
(1) zucchini muffins
Do you know about Smitten Kitchen? If not, you should look at that website right now. She has a great recipe for zucchini bread. I make it into muffins because they’re easier to feed to Ava.
(2) fried zucchini / zucchini patties
These are two different recipes, but they’re so similar I grouped them together. Fried zucchini is breaded zucchini. Zucchini patties are a little bit lighter. We eat them with applesauce and Ava loooves them.
(3) zucchini curry
I modified this recipe to replace chicken with zucchini and I used a lot more curry than they suggested. I also used peppers from the garden, which is nice because we’re also exploding with peppers as well. I made jalapeños poppers last week in part because it required 10 jalapeños.
(4) vegetable hash with poached eggs
This recipe is fantastic for getting rid of all the veggies in your fridge. I use it to clear out all the extra stuff from our CSA. For example last week I was able to sneak in an eggplant without Jon knowing, which is great because he hates eggplant.
(5) shaved zucchini with pine nuts and parmesan
This is a nice, quick salad and it’s a fantastic summer salad because it’s raw.
Based on all the green tomatoes in our garden right now, I should have another of these posts later in the month about tomatoes.
Aug 7th, 2015 by Elizabeth
Ava is making great progress in the steps towards walking. She’s getting better at using her walker. She can change its direction now. She will take a few steps while holding only one hand. Lastly, she can go from sitting to standing, back to sitting again without any assistance.
For Jon’s birthday last week, he wanted to celebrate by having dinner at Ikea. That worked for me since it meant I didn’t have to cook on a Saturday night. And it was great for Ava because we bought her toys! She’s very mechanically inclined so we bought her a set of tools. It’s such a cool set because it teaches you how to use a hammer, a screwdriver, and a wrench. Like all things, she studies the tools very carefully.
Ava is also very focused on noises that animals make. She’s back to knowing that a snake goes “sss.” Her nanny said that she picked up a cow the other day and mooed. And she always makes her dinosaur growl.
I’ve been entertaining myself with Ava’s toys. I like to pit the farm animals against the dinosaur. The birds always lose.
Aug 2nd, 2015 by Elizabeth
Between our garden and our CSA, we have so much kale that I serve it at least once a day. Saturday was a record because I had a kale smoothie for breakfast and a kale salad for lunch. I think kale is a magical substance because I don’t get hungry after I eat it. During the week I can drink a kale smoothie for lunch and I don’t get hungry until dinner.
Since this is the time of year when everyone has too much kale, I give you my five favorite recipes interspersed with pictures of Ava because I forget to take pictures of the food.
(1) Kale Feta Bread
Jon found this recipe. It is amazing! It’s quick, it’s delicious, and it uses a nice amount of kale. Instead of shredding the kale by hand, I recommend using a food processor. I tried coconut flour instead of the wheat flour (and what else are you going to use coconut flour for?), and it tasted equally good.
(2) Kale Black Bean and Burrito Bowl
Everything about this dish is amazing: the kale, the avocado salsa verde. I’ve eaten it wrapped up in a flour tortilla or as different dishes on a plate.
(3) Kale Quinoa Salad
There are so many variations of the kale quinoa salad and they are all delicious. This one is great because of all the vegetables. I also like recipes with a vinaigrette mixed in.
(4) Kale Avocado Salad
This may be the first kale recipe I ever prepared. It’s so good and easily modifiable. You can skip the tomatoes. I’ve never tried it with nori, but I regularly add toasted pine nuts.
(5) Kale Apple Salad
A lot of people are scared of kale so the recipes involve using lemon, like in the previous recipe, to soften the kale leaves. This recipe is great because it embraces the bitterness.
I don’t use the pancetta in this recipe and I only use radicchio if it’s convenient. Since both kale and radicchio are bitter, I think the radicchio is more about making a visually pleasing salad than the flavor.
Jul 24th, 2015 by Elizabeth
We took Ava to the cemetery to look at the deer. Our timing was great because they had two fawns.
Ava liked the deer, but she was a lot more interested in trying to get underneath the cement in these long cement tubes that are used to divert snow runoff from the mountains. She was really mad that we wouldn’t let her get under there. We discussed how we would explain to CPS why we took a baby to a cemetery and let her get stuck in the cement.
This picture cracks me up because it reminds me of those silly poses that models make.
Jul 19th, 2015 by Elizabeth
This girl never stops going. Today we went to the Discovery Gateway Children’s Museum for 2.5 hours. Ava had so much fun. They have a lot of play stations that teach difference concepts. She really enjoyed these interlocking pieces that you could make spin, two different magnet stations, and the long hallways that she could crawl along while yelling. It’s always nice to go somewhere and not have you worry about your baby disturbing people.
Jon and I were exhausted after the trip but Ava went home and had a wrestling session with us. She pulls herself to standing while we’re laying down and jumps on us. I don’t know how she does it.
Ava also has quiet times where she doesn’t want to be disturbed. Around 9:30 every morning she wants to read her books and she doesn’t want you to bother her. I’m starting to get “the look” when I take pictures during that time so I need to stop bothering her.
It’s not all serious, though. Sometimes she enjoys being disturbed.
Jul 11th, 2015 by Elizabeth
When we take Ava to the park, I like to find babies of similar age to see how similar they are to Ava. Ava tends to tower over them. She’s bigger than a lot of the two-year olds.
- Ava isn’t walking yet, but she gets closer every day. She really prefers to be standing because it helps her get into things. If she’s not aware of what’s happening, she can stand without assistance for a few seconds. Mostly she leans on things.
- I keep thinking this will be the month she’ll start to walk, but I especially think so this month. Her downward dog is a little different now because she likes to rest her head on the floor and stare at you while she’s upside down.
- Ava has been kissing people and human-like animals in books for awhile (including monsters in a Star Trek Book of Opposites), but now she’s also kissing animals in the books. She particularly likes to kiss sea lions.
- In her continual desire for greater independence, Ava now requires a spoon or fork at every meal so that she can eat the food on her tray. I came downstairs the other day and her nanny had her dressed only in a diaper because she was making such a huge message with pasta and red sauce. She was incredibly happy to be given full control over her food. I let her have the independence, but I prefer to keep her clothed.
- Last week Ava got a new nanny. The old one had trouble getting here on time and I couldn’t make early-morning meetings because I never knew whether the nanny was going to flake out on us. I have a lot of clients on the east coast and the juggling of phone calls and the baby was a constant source of stress. Fortunately the new nanny is fantastic about getting her on time and I think she’s an even better fit for Ava. I was worried Ava would be sad about the change, but she’s been much happier this week. I think the new nanny gives her more attention and is better about understanding her needs.
Foods and Liquids
- I feed Ava whatever we’re eating for dinner plus a few extra things I know she’ll eat like cheese or goldfish crackers.
- The other day I had groceries on the floor. As I was putting stuff away I realized that Ava had reached into the bag and pulled out a nectarine. She ate half of that nectarine! Those front teeth are really working for her.
- Weaning Ava helped a little bit in that she’s not using me as a pacifier all night, but she still sleeps. She likes to sleep perpendicular to us with her head on one person and her feet on the other. Lately she’s been waking up in the middle of the night, possibly because of tooth pain, and it’s been a struggle to get her to fall back asleep.
- Ava is starting to make connections between words. I’ve been making animal noises for animals in her picture books. If you ask her what a snake says, she’ll say “Sssss.” The other day she was looking at Teddy and she said: “Teddy…dog…woof, woof.” The girl is a genius!